WBO and WBA jr. lightweight world champion Acelino Freitas of Salvador, Brazil, will move up in weight and challenge WBO lightweight world champion Artur Grigorian of Hamburg, Germany, for the title on January 3, 2004, televised on Showtime. The site is to be announced.

Acelino is one of the most exciting and hardest-hitting boxers at any weight. He is 34-0, with 31 knockouts, and 11-0 in world championship fights at 130 pounds. Acelino won the WBO world title in August, 1999, and has made ten successful title defenses in his four-year reign. He added the WBA world title by defeating then-champion Joel Casamayor in January, 2002.

His last fight, against Jorge Barrios in Miami on August 9 and televised on Showtime, is a candidate for "2003 Fight of the Year." It was a close, exciting battle that repeatedly brought the fans to their feet. Acelino built an early lead, but Barrios came on strong and scored a knockdown in the eighth round, won the ninth round on all three scorecards and the tenth round on two of the three, as well. Barrios scored another knockdown early in the eleventh round that put Acelino flat on his back and seemed to put the finishing touch on a tremendous upset. But just before the bell ended the round, Acelino scored an electrifying knockdown - a crushing right hand momentarily froze Barrios in his tracks, then dropped him flat on his face. Barrios somehow managed to continue into the twelfth round, but Acelino scored another knockdown and the referee stopped the fight at 0:50. After 11 rounds, the fight was scored 106-103 Freitas, 106-104 Barrios, 105-105.

WBO lightweight world champion "King" Artur Grigorian is undefeated at 36-0, with 22 knockouts. He has held the world title for over seven years, since early 1996, and is 18-0 in world championship fights which include wins against former world champions Stefano Zoff and Raul Balbi. Grigorian was a 1992 Olympian and had amateur wins against current WBC super welterweight world champion Shane Mosley and former WBA lightweight world champion Leonard Dorin.

The tentatively scheduled co-featured bout could stand on its own as a main event - J. C. Candelo of Denver, Colorado, versus Kassim Ouma of West Palm Beach, Florida, in a 12-round elimination bout for the IBF's No. 1 ranking at 154 pounds.

J.C. has has given sensational performances and built tremendous momentum in recent fights. Now 26-5-3, with 18 knockouts, he is coming off a knockout win in his last fight on July 26 against Julio Garcia. J.C. is currently ranked IBF No. 2, WBC No. 6, WBO No.7, and No. 8 by The Ring and the WBA.

Kassim has also been on a hot streak and is undefeated in his last 11 fights - 9-0-1, 1 ND - which include wins against Angel Hernandez, Verno Phillips and Alex Bunema. Now 18-1-1, 1 ND, with 12 knockouts, Kassim is currently ranked IBF No. 1, WBC No. 4, The Ring No. 6 and WBA No. 11.

Article posted on 03.11.2003

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